Could Estonia be the first digital country?

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20171019-could-estonia-be-the-first-digital-country

We’ve all been there: standing in an interminable queue in a stark government building, staring into space, waiting for what seems like endless hours to fill out reams of forms at the tax office or department of motor vehicles.

How do you kill time during such a boring wait, only to do more boring tasks in a boring place? Most likely, it means scrolling through your phone, checking email, Instagramming, even tweeting about how you’re bored.

So why can’t we just fill out all those forms (or run similarly bureaucratic errands) on that same smartphone? Why, in 2017, the year of cashless payments and fingerprint-locked gadgets and handheld video-chatting, can we not do all of our government-related tasks online, in one place and in one fell swoop?

In a certain Baltic country, you can: Estonia, the small nation of 1.3m nestled in the nooks of northeastern Europe.

The same country that gave birth to Skype has been pursuing a 100% digitised society with laser focus since the ‘90s. Experts far and away agree that the country’s online government initiative – an effort called e-Estonia – is the world paragon for how a government can successfully and conveniently move the bulk of its services to a single online platform.

The e-Estonia website says the programme is “the evolution of the e-state”. Launched in 1997, it’s let citizens file taxes online since 2000 (95% of Estonians file taxes online), and allows Estonians to obtain medical prescriptions and test results, sign documents, even vote and allow foreigners to become e-residents, all online.

“Today, the information is stored inside the country,” says Anna Piperal, a spokesperson for e-Estonia. “But we are working on a governmental cloud that will be backed up in Estonian embassies around the world.”

And they’re not alone. Finland, Japan and Cyprus have all taken cues from Estonia, either working with Estonian companies to build e-tax platforms in their own countries, for example, or borrowing the Estonian ID card system, which assigns each citizen a catch-all ID that can be used for purposes ranging from social security to voting to disaster response.

“The country has made more progress than any other,” says Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institute think tank in Washington DC.

An e-government programme packs a double punch in that it functions as a creator for tech jobs. Piperal says that e-Estonia pumps out technical roles to support the system, “just like any new industry.

“We need more engineers, more designers, more testers, more programmers, and architects. More copywriters, more social media experts and more web developers.”

A number of experts on governance and the internet have shining things to say about e-Estonia, and credited the programme with being a trailblazer of its kind.

“It’s a very interesting example – a very early example,” says Helen Margetts, professor of society and the internet at the University of Oxford and the director of Oxford Internet Institute.

Margetts says that “after the Soviet era, [Estonia] ditched legacy systems and started from scratch – they decided to be paperless. They just went for a neat solution which comes nearer than any other government.” (Estonia regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.)

But we live in a world of constant headlines of data breaches, hacked Facebook profiles, stolen credit card numbers, swiped passwords, lifted savings accounts. Why should people trust all of their info being housed in a single, centralised (and potentially hackable, critics say) online platform?

Continue here: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20171019-could-estonia-be-the-first-digital-country

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“The same country that gave birth to Skype has been pursuing a 100% digitised society with laser focus since the ‘90s. Experts far and away agree that the country’s online government initiative – an effort called e-Estonia – is the world paragon for how a government can successfully and conveniently move the bulk of its services to a single online platform.”

lucky estonia..

“And they’re not alone. Finland, Japan and Cyprus have all taken cues from Estonia, either working with Estonian companies to build e-tax platforms in their own countries, for example, or borrowing the Estonian ID card system, which assigns each citizen a catch-all ID that can be used for purposes ranging from social security to voting to disaster response.”

its all going online..

401

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~ by seeker401 on November 2, 2017.

One Response to “Could Estonia be the first digital country?”

  1. “Why should people trust all of their info being housed in a single, centralised (and potentially hackable, critics say) online platform?”

    Their argument for the continuance of central banks and the IMF.

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